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So long from White House: Obama aims final messages at Trump

Agencies | Updated: 2017-01-19 09:10

So long from White House: Obama aims final messages at Trump

US President Barack Obama departs the briefing room at the conclusion of his final press conference at the White House in Washington, US, January 18, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

"You're not supposed to be sycophants, you're supposed to be skeptics," Obama said to the reporters he has often criticized for hyping scandals and hopscotching from story to story too quickly.

"You're not supposed to be complimentary, but you're supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here."Even the reporters the president called on seemed intended to send a pointed message to his successor. He kicked off the questioning with the president of the White House Correspondents' Association, which advocates for access on behalf of journalists. Reporters from Arab, Spanish-language, African-American, and gay and lesbian-focused publications followed.

In a sense, Obama was taking a page out of the playbook used by Trump advisers, who often try to communicate with their cable-news watching boss on the airwaves. The president's press conference earned him prime real estate on the networks Trump keeps on his office television throughout the day, with most cable news outlets carrying the entire hour-long event live.

For years, Trump's only presence in Obama's orbit was as an irritant and the chief promoter of the lie that the president was born outside the United States. When Trump challenged for the presidency, Obama worked to stop him and seemed all but certain that Americans wouldn't back the Republican's brash and divisive politics.

Since Trump's unexpected victory, Obama has largely set aside that history and sought to help ease his successor's transition into office. He's spoken with Trump by phone numerous times, sometimes at length, he said Wednesday.

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